Every craftsman has his tools, and my old chief photographer once told me: "A good craftsman never blames his tools." The moral of THAT story is if you screw something up, take credit for it and move on. I digress...
News photographers can count on at least 3 things to be issued to them upon employment: 1) a camera, 2) a tripod, and 3) a microphone of some sort. Some may also get a light kit , a lav mic, an audio connector here, a pack of AA batteries there... you get the gist. They're all tools we use to make TV.
If you're one of the lucky ones like I am, your station will afford you any cool toy you could ever want to make your fancy cam even fancier. However, the amount of "stuff" used to shoot a news story does not necessarily have a direct correlation on the final product.
That being said, there is one piece of equipment that I feel is missing in the arsenal of the modern tv news photographer: the kevlar vest!
Case in point: I work what's called the "day break" shift on Saturday & Sunday as part of my weekly 40 hours committed to bringing the fine people of our DMA all the news they can use. It's 4:30am to 1:30pm.
I see alot of bad stuff. I go to alot of bad neighborhoods. I meet alot of bad people. I hear alot of bad things. I'm almost certain that I've managed to survive this long without a bullet proof vest solely because of my witty charm, good looks, and knowledge of early 90's gangsta rap.
Now while I only enter the roughest parts of Charlotte 2 days a week in the wee hours of the morning, my friend and phellow photog James Capozzi signed up for a news tour that takes him into the seedy belly of the beast, 5 days a week. He's our new Monday - Friday daybreak photog, and the dude is legit.
So legit in fact, that he can be seen shrugging off fear with little awareness of his potential need for kevlar. Just read his transcript of a recent interaction with one of our fair city's finest citizens.
A conversation with a dude today in the ghetto as I was reeling in my cable:
-Dude: Ain't you afraid to be in this neighborhood all by yourself??
-Me: No, why would I be?
-Dude: Cuz' people be gettin' hurt up in here. Watch yo back news man!
Watch yo back indeed. Well played James! Now, if you need me I will be off somewhere fashioning a shank out of an old stick mic.